Host: Paul Cowling, thank you very much for participating in this podcast, I appreciate it.
Paul Cowling: I’m more than happy to talk to you, David.
Host: So Paul, can you start by explaining a little more about the Gartner Magic Quadrant report and why it is considered such an important metric in our industry?
Paul Cowling: Okay, so let’s break this down a bit. Gartner is an analysis and consulting firm. They’re one of the biggest in the industry and, you know, what they say and their opinion on things is therefore considered influential in terms of how different players in the industry see what’s going on. happening in terms of technologies, but also where different vendors are in terms of the ability to deliver solutions that meet customer needs.
The Magic Quadrant report is one of their flagship reports. They’re doing a wide range of it on a lot of different topics, and this one is particularly relevant to the telecom and mobile industry, looking at what’s going on in 5G. 5G is new – this is the first time they’ve written a 5G Magic Quadrant report, so of course there’s a lot of interest in terms of, you know, how fair the different vendors are in terms of evaluation matters.
Host: The last 12 months of 2020 have been a pretty big year for 5G and that’s what we’ll be talking about in a few minutes. But from your perspective, what recent achievements and milestones on Ericsson’s side have propelled us to this leadership position in this Gartner report?
Paul Cowling: Well, I wouldn’t limit myself to recent things because I think the first thing that is strongly in our favor is the work that we did until 2013 to design products capable of 5G, even though 5G does not ‘was not even. standardized at the time.
So we had a very good platform to deliver 5G on this, already deployed and already in place with the operators. So that’s the first thing. We had a very strong geographic presence, so we were present in all markets in North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, China, Australia and around the world. We have a very good footprint and we were at the forefront of deployment in almost all of these geographies in 2019.
We’ve seen some really good momentum in 2020, and one of the things that kind of underpins is the functionality we have for dynamic spectrum sharing, which is a technique that allows you to run 5G and 4G in the same spectrum band. By doing this and perhaps combining it with specific 5G frequency bands, you can achieve a good balance between performance and coverage, and you can deploy coverage very quickly. So, you know, I think it’s been a fantastic thing both for us and for the operators in terms of being able to bring 5G to market.
We’re very strong, I think, when it comes to coverage over the spectrum bands, so we have, you know, the support and capacity for 5G from the low band, all the way to the very high frequency bands at 28. gigahertz and more.
Host: You mentioned our spectrum sharing offering and a few offerings in our portfolio, but there was a lot of business momentum last year within 5G as well. I was wondering if you could just mention a few of the highlights for Ericsson, and maybe even the industry, about this.
Paul Cowling: Okay, sure, there are a lot of things that come into play. So some of the things we’ve done over the last year is we’ve opened up new production facilities, for example. , we have a new factory in USA with factories in Europe and China. They are all equipped and use 5G in the factory and demonstrate how 5G can play a role in innovation within industries.
Industry is one of the big areas where we see growth and potential for the application of 5G. Even in the United States, we’ve gone so far as to organize new training for the guys who are going to be working on the towers because, you know, the scope of the deployment is such that you need more people who are qualified for this type of job. job. It’s a fairly specialized job and it’s an area where safety is important. So we have training sites in the United States, specifically focused on that.
I think we’ve seen a great deal of interest in the takeover all over the world – from Claro, for example, in Latin America, the largest operator in Latin America. We have seen continued interest and interest in Asia, a lot is happening in countries like Australia, and the Chinese have come out in great numbers. I think in the second half of 2020 we hit the hundred customer milestone with a hundred operator deals, and I think we are now somewhere over 70 live operator networks with Ericsson. It’s awesome and fantastic.
We’ve seen a lot of interesting projects in Europe, for example around 5G and industrial use cases, so it’s things like using projects with Mercedes and Daimler in their factories in Germany, using 5G in manufacturing. They’re doing this as part of a whole new factory – they’re looking to be a model for how they’re going to build cars there in factories around the world.
Host: I realized that might not be part of the Magic Quadrant assessment, but sustainability and, in particular, energy efficiency is such a big part of the design of 5G from the start. I’m just wondering if you can talk a little more about how 5G can be used to break the energy curve in our industry.
Paul Cowling: So within the mobile industry, one of the goals from the start and the standardization of 5G was to lower the consumption of energy and especially its quantity – you know, energy per supply. So, as data volumes continue to increase, it is not economically viable and it is not sustainable to have increasing power consumption.
Thus, 5G technology was designed to be able to offer 10 times the volume of traffic with less consumption than we had with 4G. There are many reasons for this, and we actually covered it in an episode of the Voice of 5G podcast. I think in terms of sustainability it contributes more than that because IT is one of those technologies that you can use to increase efficiency, so it’s the same things with less energy, so to reduce the carbon footprint of the other things we do. in society.
Part of this discussion is how does IT help reduce the carbon footprint? In the podcast, we talk about the exponential climate roadmap, a work we are collaborating with third-party organizations, looking at how you can cut carbon emissions by 50%, decade after decade. So 50 percent by 2030 and another 50 percent until 2040. IT is one of the main catalysts of this and, thanks to the roadmap, we see the opportunity to reduce global emissions about 15 percent through the application of computer technologies, in which 5G is important.
Host: Finally, Paul, before I let you go, I have one more question. The pandemic has been such a pervasive issue for everyone over the past 12 months, and I just wonder how this global health crisis has impacted the 5G landscape over the past year. ?
Paul Cowling: I think maybe the surprising thing is that it hasn’t been impacted as much as you think. I think throughout the pandemic we’ve seen a lot of networks operate despite these countries facing the pandemic and lockdown. We have seen in the network engineering teams, maintain and keep the networks running despite the restrictions in place.
We saw companies, which were kind of big changes for the operator in terms of the use of the networks. People work from home and don’t go to the office, so network traffic flows are very different. So I think there has been incredible work by industry and operators to maintain the network and provide connectivity, but also to deploy and improve the networks during this time. I think, surprisingly enough, the impact of Covid has been quite limited in terms of operations within the telecommunications industry.
Host: And also in the future, I mean, 5G represents a great opportunity for economic recovery, as economies have been hit hard during this pandemic.
Paul Cowling: Well, for me, personally, it’s an interesting question when we start to see the decline of Covid and society return to normal. Are we going to start doing things again as they did before 2019? How far are we going to embrace 5G, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things? To what extent are we going to use these technologies to actually change the way we work and run society, for example, to improve sustainability or to give people more time at home? What will be the role of technology when we get back to normal?
Host: Paul, thank you very much for being a part of this podcast, it’s always a pleasure to speak with you.
Paul Cowling: And the same with you, David. Thank you!
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